Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open! Today's theme is "Reality is stranger than fiction." I will be checking this page periodically throughout the day. When people make suggestions, I'll pick some and weave them together into a poem ... and then another ... and so on. I'm hoping to get a lot of ideas and a lot of poems.
I'll be soliciting ideas for historians, explorers, partners, housemates, siblings, parents, teachers, clergy, leaders, superheroes, supervillains, teammates, alien or fantasy species, failure analysts, ethicists, activists, rebels, other people who get into unbelievable situations, researching, revising theories, parenting, teaching, adventuring, leaving your comfort zone, discovering things, conducting experiments, observation changing experiments, troubleshooting, improvising, adapting, cleaning up messes, cooperating, bartering, taking over in an emergency, saving the day, discovering yourself, studying others, testing boundaries, coming of age, learning what you can (and can't) do, sharing, preparing for the worst, expecting the unexpected, fixing what's broke, upsetting the status quo, changing the world, accomplishing the impossible, recovering from setbacks, returning home, the forest primeval, liminal zones, schools, churches, sharehouses, kitchens, campfires, libraries, laboratories, supervillain lairs, makerspaces, nonhuman accommodations and adaptations, stores, farmer's markets, starships, alien planets, magical lands, foreign dimensions, other places where the unbelievable happens, articles or other references to oddities, puzzling discoveries, sudden surprises, travel mishaps, the buck stops here, trial and error, weird food, secret ingredients, supplements that turn out to be metagenic, intercultural entanglements, asking for help and getting it, enemies to friends/lovers, interdimensional travel, lab conditions are not field conditions, superpower manifestation, the end of where your framework actually applies, ethics, innovation, problems that can't be solved by hitting, teamwork, found family, complementary strengths and weaknesses, personal growth, and poetic forms in particular.
Currently eligible bingo card(s) for donors wishing to sponsor a square:
Winterfest in July Bingo Card 7-1-21
Hurt/Comfort Bingo Card 6-15-20
Among my more relevant series for the main theme:
An Army of One is unbelievable by the standards of the Galactic Arms, but it works for the residents.
The Bear Tunnels is an unexpected adventure.
A Conflagration of Dragons has unforseen disasters and cultural upheavals.
The Daughters of the Apocalypse has a jumble of past and present, some of it quite strange.
Eloquent Souls presents a setting where soulmarks are common, but some of the results are puzzling.
Fledgling Grace is about people sprouting angel wings, and the unexpected changes that brings.
Frankenstein's Family features two scientists running a valley in historic Romania, along with a pack of werewolves, a couple of vampires, and a mummy.
Hart's Farm is a free love community with a few really exotic characters.
Monster House is suburban fantasy with a diverse household, where the line between truth and fantasy isn't always clear.
The Moon Door explores a women's chronic pain group and lycanthropy.
One God's Story of Mid-Life Crisis follows Shaeth as he works on becoming the God of Drunks.
Polychrome Heroics has ordinary humans, supernaries, blue-plate specials, superheroes, supervillains, primal and animal soups all trying to get along and figure out how to make a functional society.
Or you can ask for something new.
I have a linkback poem, "Generations of Cooks Past" (17 verses, standalone).
What Is a Poetry Fishbowl?
Writing is usually considered a solitary pursuit. One exception to this is a fascinating exercise called a "fishbowl." This has various forms, but all of them basically involve some kind of writing in public, usually with interaction between author and audience. A famous example is Harlan Ellison's series of "stories under glass" in which he sits in a bookstore window and writes a new story based on an idea that someone gives him. Writing classes sometimes include a version where students watch each other write, often with students calling out suggestions which are chalked up on the blackboard for those writing to use as inspiration.
In this online version of a Poetry Fishbowl, I begin by setting a theme; today's theme is "Reality is stranger than fiction." I invite people to suggest characters, settings, and other things relating to that theme. Then I use those prompts as inspiration for writing poems.
I'm practicing cyberfunded creativity. If you enjoy what I'm doing and want to see more of it, please feed the Bard. The following options are currently available:
1) Sponsor the Fishbowl -- Here is a PayPal button for donations. There is no specific requirement, but $1 is the minimum recommended size for PayPal transactions since they take a cut from every one. You can also donate via check or money order sent by postal mail. If you make a donation and tell me about it, I promise to use one of your prompts. Anonymous donations are perfectly welcome, just won't get that perk. General donations will be tallied, and at the end of the fishbowl I’ll post a list of eligible poems based on the total funding; then the audience can vote on which they want to see posted.
2) Swim, Fishie, Swim! -- A feature in conjunction with fishbowl sponsorship is this progress meter showing the amount donated. There are multiple perks, the top one being a half-price poetry sale on one series when donations reach $300.
3) Buy It Now! -- Gakked from various e-auction sites, this feature allows you to sponsor a specific poem. If you don't want to wait for some editor to buy and publish my poem so you can read it, well, now you don't have to. Sponsoring a poem means that I will immediately post it on my blog for everyone to see, with the name of the sponsor (or another dedicate) if you wish; plus you get a nonexclusive publication right, so you can post it on your own blog or elsewhere as long as you keep the credits intact. You'll need to tell me the title of the poem you want to sponsor. I'm basing the prices on length, and they're comparable to what I typically make selling poetry to magazines (semi-pro rates according to Duotrope's Digest).
0-10 lines: $5
11-25 lines: $10
26-40 lines: $15
41-60 lines: $20
Poems over 60 lines, or with very intricate structure, fall into custom pricing.
4) Commission a scrapbook page. I can render a chosen poem in hardcopy format, on colorful paper, using archival materials for background and any embellishments. This will be suitable for framing or for adding to a scrapbook. Commission details are here. See latest photos of sample scrapbooked poems: "Sample Scrapbooked Poems 1-24-11"
5) Spread the word. Echo or link to this post on your Dreamwidth, other blog, Twitter, Facebook, Digg, StumbleUpon, or any other social network. Useful Twitter hashtags include #poetryfishbowl and #promptcall. Encourage people to come here and participate in the fishbowl. If you have room for it, including your own prompt will give your readers an idea of what the prompts should look like; ideally, update later to include the thumbnail of the poem I write, and a link to the poem if it gets published. If there is at least one new prompter or donor, I will post an extra freebie poem.
Linkback perk: I have a spare series poem available, and each linkback will reveal a verse of the poem. One person can do multiple links if they're on different services, like Dreamwidth or Twitter, rather than all on LiveJournal. Comment with a link to where you posted. "Generations of Cooks Past" has 17 verses and stands alone.
1) I customarily post replies to prompt posts telling people which of their prompts I'm using, with a brief description of the resulting poem(s). If you want to know what's available, watch for those "thumbnails."
2) You don't have to pay me to see a poem based on a prompt that you gave me. I try to send copies of poems to people, mostly using the LJ message function. (Anonymous prompters will miss this perk unless you give me your eddress.) These are for-your-eyes-only, though, not for sharing.
3) Sponsors of the Poetry Fishbowl in general, or of specific poems, will gain access to an extra post in appreciation of their generosity. While you're on the Donors list, you can view all of the custom-locked posts in that category. Click the "donors" tag to read the archive of those. I've also posted a list of other donor perks there. I customarily leave donor names on the list for two months, so you'll get to see the perk-post from this month and next.
4) After the Poetry Fishbowl concludes, I will post a list of unsold poems and their prices, to make it easier for folks to see what they might want to sponsor.
5) If donations total $100 by Friday evening then you get a free $15 poem; $150 gets you a free $20 poem; and $200 gets you a free epic, posted after the Poetry Fishbowl. These will usually be series poems if I have them; otherwise I may offer non-series poems or series poems in a different size. If donations reach $250, you get one step toward a bonus fishbowl; four of these activates the perk, and they don't have to be four months in a row. Everyone will get to vote on which series, and give prompts during the extra fishbowl, although it may be a half-day rather than a whole day. If donations reach $300, there will be a half-price sale in one series.
Feed the Fish!
Now's your chance to participate in the creative process by posting ideas for me to write about. Today's theme is "Reality is stranger than fiction." See above for details. If you manage to recommend a form that I don't recognize, I will probably pounce on it and ask you for its rules. I do have The New Book of Forms by Lewis Turco which covers most common and many obscure forms.
I'll post at least one of the fishbowl poems here so you-all can enjoy it. (Remember, you get an extra freebie poem if someone new posts a prompt or makes a donation, and additional perks at $100-$300 in donations. Linkbacks reveal verses of "Generations of Cooks Past." The rest of the poems will go into my archive for future use.